At first glance, this quiet city on the border doesn’t seem to offer much. I used to certainly think so, until one day in seventh grade I was assigned a frontier project in which we had to research our city. When I was done with this project I knew the real El Paso. El Paso is unique in the name itself. El Paso means “the pass,” in Spanish. El Paso got its name since it was the passing point between Mexico and the rest of the United States.
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El Paso’s location next to the border and its rich history makes it a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures. El Paso has a mainly Hispanic culture but there are groups such as white and Asian cultures as well. El Paso was the site of massive railroad construction in the early 1900s and many Chinese immigrants were called upon to build the railroads and after construction finished, the immigrants remained here. The majestic Franklin Mountains split El Paso right in the middle. As a result East and West El Paso have developed distinctly. The people in West El Paso generally commute to central and East El Paso every morning to work. East El Paso is the older, more historic side of the El Paso whereas West El Paso is the newer, younger side which adds to the diversity.
In its own and unique way, El Paso has many interesting attractions. Concordia Cemetery which is the biggest cemetery in El Paso is the resting place of the legendary wild westerner John Wesley Hardin and Concordia hosts ghost tours the first Saturday of every month. The Magoffin House which is one of the oldest adobe structures left in El Paso is another destination. This house, which has been up since before the Civil War, is still furnished with the original belongings of the Magoffin’s which date back to the early 1900s. Fort Bliss, which is the largest military base in the United States, is located in East El Paso and is yet another location to visit. Downtown/Central El Paso boasts of historical markers and attractions. EL Paso Street which runs all through downtown is one of the oldest and most historical streets in El Paso. Our main public library which proudly displays its border heritage collection and many other museums are located in our downtown. These are not the only attractions, there are many more sites to see and experience.
For all those outside people and nature lovers, the Franklin Mountain State Park is open to the public. Hiking trails and breathtaking views can be had on Transmountain Road which runs through the Franklin Mountains and connects East El Paso to West El Paso. The Wyler Aerial tramway is also open year round and for a cheap $2-3 admission you enjoy a ten minute lift to El Paso’s highest point. Scenic Drive which is a road that goes around the tip of the Franklin Mountain is a top destination for lovebirds as they gaze at El Paso, Juarez, Mexico, and New Mexico from a single point. Scenic Drive was also the spot of a cross burning of the KKK back in the hey-day of the KKK.
Although it is a small town in comparison to Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, El Paso is a worthy travel destination which is boasting to reveal all its secrets and attractions and history to all those adventurous enough to tackle on the Pass.
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